Product Review:
Eastwood's High Temp
Engine Paint
 
by Ed Danneberg
 
Eastwood Ceramic Paints

 

After many years of using most every kind of automotive paint - from high-end epoxy's to the lowly spray can (or spray bomb - as it's known in the trade), there's one thing that I know for fact: although many paints can be used for many things,  some applications call for very specific paint formulations. And the more often you use the right paint type for the job, the better and longer lasting the result.
 
It's not that you can't use a paint "off-label" (for something other than what it is described for) and I have done it often, but you need to be sure that whatever you are using it for, it is going to perform over and above your expectations and survive the conditions it will endure.
 
For years - from professional shops to TV "How-To" shows - engines have been painted with some pretty basic paints in spray bombs.  Although one would think it's not the can it comes in - but what's inside that counts. Case in point being that 2-part activated or "hardened" paints cannot be stored in a spray bomb, unless some high-tech design is incorporated to keep the activator seperate until use.
 
While paints in spray bombs have been greatly improved upon over the years, such as the advent of "high-temp" coatings, there's just no substitute for both activated 2-part paints, as well as for some of the additives that go into specialty paints marketed today.

Eastwood Ceramic Engine Paint

 
After much research and many trials, I've found paints that work incredibly well in specific situations and tend to stick to these findings. Some paints are used "off-label" as mentioned above, due to the manufacturer marketing it for a different use (more on that in another article), but all far exceed the intended use and will perform in the conditions the part will endure over many years.
 
 
 
 
 
 
One such paint that incorporates these attributes, is Eatwood's High Temp Engine and Caliper Paint. These are 2-part-ceramic-containg paints that employ the properties you want when subjecting them to the seriously harsh conditions of an engine bay - or for that matter - the heat produced in braking.  In these applications, parts are subjected to high heat, solvents and rapid heating/cooling cycles.
 
Now we could get into the scientific properties - such as the utilization of ceramic nanotechnology or the added alkyd esters - that allow these paints to endure and perform as they do, but the real reasons E-tek only uses this paint for engines and calipers will mean more to you, the DIY restorer:
 
- withstands temperatures up to 650F. Spray can paints generally state they will withstand temperatures of 350-400F, which occurs fairly quickly even in a stock engine bay.

-  highly resistant to chips, chemicals and heat (most notably Gasoline and Deisel fuels)

- 20 factory correct colors including original equipment, universal and hard to find colors.

- can be brushed or sprayed on (although for best results metallic’s should be sprayed) with engine in or out

 - goes a long way: one quart covers approx. 40 square feet

 - can be used as a single stage paint, but for maximum durability and gloss, I always use Eastwood's activator (21854Z)

Recently, I swapped out a flathead V8 from a Mercury Truck, due to a serious flaw in the block.
 
The swap engine had likely been painted with a "run-of-the-mill" paint years back. It was peeling near the manifolds, had wrinkled where oil or gas had leaked and just didn't have any shine left, making for a dull, drab engine bay. 
 
The first thing we did is strip the engine down to the basic long block. Then, we took that down to bare metal, first with wire wheels, then with laquer thinner, making sure to strip all the old paint from the many nooks, cranies and dead-end holes. Once all the old paint was gone, the block and parts where thoroughly wiped with a wax, oil and grease remover, in this case Eastwood's PRE solvent.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Flatty complete
    Above: The venerable Ford Flathead 

 

 

 
 Once stripped, cleaned and masked, I put 2 wet coats of etch primeronover the bare metal and let it set up for an hour. As with any primer or paint, there's a re-coat window of 1-8 hours for this particular etch primer, but be sure to read the tech sheet on whatever product you use.
 
The re-coat window is the span of time available to spray your next coat - or product - before which the solvents haven't sufficiently flashed off and after-whcih the paint becomes too dry to allow molecular bonding to susequent coats. If you wait until the next day - and past the recoat window - you'll have to scuff the primer so the top coat will adhere.
 
Flathead in Primer
 
The next stage was the application of Eastwood's High Temp Ceramic Paint. This product is so versatile it can apparently be brushed on right out of the can (as a single-stage paint), lthough I opted to use itin a  2-part format by mixing it with the activator available: http://www.eastwood.com/ew-urethane-activator-8-oz.html.
 
According to Eastwood - and as per Paint Chemistry 301 - using it like this confers much more gloss and added durability to the product.
 
 Flathead with Eastwood Blue
 
I sprayed the paint with my detail (small) gun, at a pressure of 25psi, putting on one light coat, waiting until dry to the touch, then spraying 3 medium-wet coats for full hide and gloss.
 
The painted engine was left to cure for 24 hours, then umasked and re-assembled. I think you'll agree it looks great - and with the durabilty seen with Eastwood's High Temp Engine paint, -  I can be confident I can WOW people whenever I open the hood - for years to come!